These files are a part of the Bureau of Land Management Database for the
state of Ohio. It shows the original purchasers of land from the federal
government and covers the period from pre-Revolutionary times up to 1908.
Ohio Land Patents Database
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) inherited the functions of the General
Land Office when it was established by Congress in 1946. The Ohio Land
Patents Database, derived from General Land Office information, contains
deeds (primarily patents) issued by the United States in the region now known
as the State of Ohio between 1790 and 1907. While BLM has been referred to as
"the Nations record keeper", it is the National Archives that actually keeps
the files. The BLM, maintains diagrammatic plats known as Master Title Plats,
which depict lands which are owned by the United States and lands which are
However, these plats do not have any information about who the lands
were patented to. That information which has only been available after
tedious research, it is available now in this database. The Ohio Land Patents
Database contains the following information for each land transaction: date,
location (township, range, section, meridian), name of person the land was
patented to, county, and the patent document identification number (patent
number). Using this information you can view a scanned image of the actual
land record on-line at the BLM Eastern States General Land Office web site:
Enter your ZIP Code on the first page to get into the web site, then
choose Ohio Land Records. You can order a certified copy of the record for $2
through their web site. You can also obtain copies of the patent file for $10
from the National Archives at the following address:
Reference Branch (Lands)
Washington, DC 20408
This file will contain another copy of the land record available from
the BLM web site, plus any supporting materials submitted, such as bounty
lands warrants, or other documents.
You need to submit your request on a copy of Form 84. To get the
form, send an e-mail message to
In the body of the message, be sure to ask for Form 84 "Order for
Copies of Land Entry Files", tell them how many copies you want (get at least
2, in case you make a mistake) and give your name and snail address so they
can send you the forms.
(Or you can send a snail mail letter to above address). Sending by
e-mail takes less than a week; by snail mail both ways takes about 2 weeks.
SOME DEFINITIONS WITHIN THE DOCUMENTS
ALIQUOT or partial fraction of the section - The description of
fractional section ownership used in the U.S. public land states. A parcel
is generally identified by its section, township, and range. The aliquot
specifies its precise location within the section, for example, the northwest
quarter of the southeast quarter.
RANGE - In the U.S. public land surveying system, a north-south
column of townships, identified as being east or west of a reference
longitudinal meridian, for example, Range 3 West. See township.
SECTION - In the U.S. public land surveying system, an area one mile
square. See aliquot.
TOWNSHIP - In the U.S. public land surveying system, an area six
miles square, containing 36 sections. The townships are organized in rows
and are identified with respect to a reference latitudinal baseline, for
example, Township 13 North. See range.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF OHIO SURVEYS (MERIDIANS)
Ohio was the first state to be surveyed by the United States. Its
lands in the public domain wre the first sold by the U.S. Treasury (later by
the General Land Office). The Land Ordinance of May 20, 1785, was the basis
of the Federal land survey system. The Ordinance established the rectangular
system of survey. Many very different styles of survey were used in Ohio
before adopting the one in use today. The first public lands surveyed in the
United States were the "Seven Ranges." This was the only survey done under
the Continental Congress. Sometimes it is sometimes difficult to figure out
exactly where a particular tract of land lies in Ohio. Here is a list of
some of the Ohio Surveys:
CONNECTICUT WESTERN RESERVE - covers all northeastern Ohio. In her
deed of cession dated September 13, 1786, Connecticut retained more than 3
million acres. In 1796, Connecticut sold 3 million acres of the reserve to
the Connecticut Land Company but the Indian title to the reserve had not been
extinguished then. Clear title was not obtained until the Greenville Treaty
in 1795 and the Treaty of Fort Industry in 1805. The west end of the reserve
included the 500,000 acre "Fire Lands or Sufferers Lands" reserved for
residents of several New England towns destroyed by British-set fires during
the Revolutionary War. The General Land Office did not maintain these
records and therefore none of these records are in this database.
Contact the Ohio State Archives in Columbus for more information.
VIRGINIA MILITARY DISTRICT - covers area bounded by the Scioto River,
the Ohio River, the Little Miami River, the Ludlow Line, and the Roberts Line
in west-central Ohio. Reserved to satisfy Virginia Revolutionary War
military warrants. These metes and bounds land descriptions cover more than
6,570 square miles. BLM has 25 volumes of these warrants and none of them
are included in this database; the BLM has indexed about half of them; the
rest were multi-page documents and will be indexed later. Check the BLM web
site for the most up-to-date listing of indexed records.
Note that the records do not show much more than names and warrant
numbers. The land descriptions are almost impossible to connect to a
specific location since most refer to previous metes and bounds surveys in
Again, please contact the State Archives for more information.
OHIO RIVER SURVEY - covers most of southeastern Ohio. The base line
of the survey followed the meanders of the Ohio River from the
Pennsylvania-Ohio state line to the mouth of the Scioto River. Townships
were numbered northward from the Ohio River, leading to non-standard
locations (i.e., in Muskingum County, Township 15 North, Range 14 West, is
due west of Township 11 North, Range 13 West).
Includes the Ohio Company Purchase and the Donation Tract, for which
there are some records; there are no records about the disposition of the
French Grant in Scioto County. Contains duplicate townships (Townships 9,
10, and 11 in Range 21). Also confusing because this survey wraps around the
U.S. Military District Survey (see below).
U.S. MILITARY DISTRICT SURVEY - covers most of central Ohio.
Established by Act of Congress of June 1, 1796, to satisfy Congressional
resolutions to grant bounty lands to Continental officers and soldiers. The
Surveyor General divided the U.S. Military into five districts and made the
west boundary of the Seven Ranges a meridian line and south boundary of the
reserve a base line. Townships were numbered north from the south boundary
and west from the Seven Ranges. Townships 1 through 6 west, were the
southeast survey district. The remaining townships in Ranges 1 through 4,
and Ranges 7 through 12, were in the south middle district; the remaining
townships in Ranges 7 through 12, the north middle district; and all the
townships west of Range 12 were the western district. Most townships only
contain 25 sections instead of 36; some townships were subdivided into four
sections containing about 4,000 acres each. Also includes several tracts
reserved for the United Brethren; the Salem Tract (present-day Port
Washington), the Gnadehutten Tract and the Schoenbrun Tract (present-day New
MUSKINGUM RIVER SURVEY - only contains two townships in Summit and Stark
Counties, west of Akron and Canton.
FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD SCIOTO RIVER SURVEYS - bordering on the Scioto
River, north of Range 22 of the Ohio River Survey, runs north from the mouth
of the Scioto River at Portsmouth.
REFUGEE TRACT - covers the tier of townships in the Ohio River Survey
along the southern border of the U.S. Military Survey roughly running from
Zanesville west to Columbus. Does not have a separate meridian code. Listed
under the Ohio River Survey. Lands were reserved for refugees from Canada in
the early 1800's for aiding the colonial cause during the Revolutionary War.
Unclaimed lands were generally sold.
BETWEEN THE MIAMIS - covers area between the Miami and Little Miami
Rivers in southwestern Ohio. Unique in that the township and range directions
ran counter to all other public land surveys in the United States. The
General Land Office did not maintain land records for the Symmes Purchase
(Cincinnati area) within this survey.
WEST OF THE GREAT MIAMI - covers area south of the Greenville Treaty
line, east of the Ohio-Indiana state line and west of the Miami River in
southwestern Ohio. Township numbering is somewhat confusing since the base
line of the survey, much like the Ohio River Survey, followed the meanders of
a river (the Miami).
FIRST PRINCIPAL MERIDIAN (NE and SE) - covers most of northwestern Ohio
except the "Toledo Strip." Not to be confused with the First Principal
Meridian lands in Indiana (see Cincinnati Land Office, below). All Indiana
records will be uploaded to the INGenWeb Archives.
TWELVE MILE SQUARE - covers a four-township survey at the foot of the
rapids of the "Miami" (Maumee) River in and around Toledo. Patents for land
in Ohio that were purchased in Michigan are included; since the old state
line between Michigan and Ohio ran through this survey.
MICHIGAN MERIDIAN - the "Toledo Strip" in far northwestern Ohio was once
claimed by Michigan. Led to a serious dispute between Michigan and Ohio
until the admission of Michigan to the Union in 1837.
In addition, some townsite surveys are included in our records, such as
Lower Sandusky, Perrysburg, Croghansville, (present-day Fremont) and
LANDS IN INDIANA SOLD BY THE CINCINNATI LAND OFFICE
Until the 1840's, the land office in Cincinnati issued several
thousand patents for land in southeastern Indiana. A rule of thumb for
locating these would be to look for the land description(s) on a particular
record from the Cincinnati land office and see if it lies either within the
Second Principal Meridian (directions North and East for township and range
respectively), or within the First Principal Meridian with a township
direction of North and a range direction of West.
Lands falling within the First Principal Meridian sold at Cincinnati
are not to be confused with those within the First Principal Meridian in
northwestern Ohio. These were primarily sold by the land offices at Bucyrus,
Defiance, Delaware, Lima, Marion, Piqua, Tiffin, Upper Sandusky, and
Wapakoneta. The Cincinnati First Principal Meridian lands were all located
in southeastern Indiana within a roughly triangular-shaped area bounded by
the Ohio River, the Ohio-Indiana state line, and the Greenville Treaty line
extending southwest from Fort Recovery to the Ohio River, at the mouth of the
The State of Ohio Archives address:
State of Ohio Archives
1982 Velma Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43211-2497
Ohio has nine major land surveys and 46 sub surveys. The key to
understanding and using Ohio land records is the original land surveys. Ohio
is unique. It was the test state for the Federal Rectangular Survey System,
yet it has the Virginia Military District, composed entirely of metes and
bounds surveys. This short history of Ohio lands begins with the territory's
earliest inhabitants. More can be read about this at
"Ohio Lands - A Short History".